Dakota D. Tipton, 26, of Joshua, Texas, was sentenced on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, for carving his initials into the iconic Roosevelt Arch. U.S Magistrate Judge Mark Carman ordered Tipton to serve three days in jail, pay a $250 restitution fee for repairs, and $40 in court fees.
On June 10, 2016, park dispatch was notified by a visitor that Mr. Tipton was carving his initials into a keystone above a small walkway arch adjacent to Arch Park. When contacted by law enforcement, Mr. Tipton admitted to using a multi-tool to carve into the arch, calling it “a bad decision.”
Mr. Tipton was issued a mandatory appearance citation for vandalism and appeared before the court at the Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs by phone Tuesday, July 26. He will likely serve his jail sentence near his home in Texas. This location is determined by the U.S. Marshal Service and/or the Bureau of Prisons.
The Roosevelt Arch, situated at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, was constructed out of local columnar basalt. Dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt, who laid the cornerstone on April 24, 1903, the arch greeted early visitors who arrived in Gardiner, Montana via the Northern Pacific Railroad. At 50 feet high, the Roosevelt Arch is, and has been, a favorite photo point for visitors.
The Roosevelt Arch is part of the Fort Yellowstone National Historic Landmark District. National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
It is difficult to measure the actual cultural resource loss that Mr. Tipton’s actions cost the park. The sentence passed down by the judge reflects the egregious nature of such an action.
The keystone of the central arch is engraved with the words, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” “Let this unfortunate act be a reminder to all that the cultural treasures of Yellowstone National Park require our care and protection to ensure that generations to come will enjoy their presence on the landscape,” said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Steve Iobst.